For as long as there has been modern plumbing, pipes and drains have gotten clogged, and it never stops being frustrating for the people and/or families dealing with the problem. Floor drains—especially those located in basements—are especially susceptible to blockages since all the other water and waste from the house is carried downward by gravity to septic tanks or public sewers. Knowing that, we see a lot of floor drain clogs here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, and while we would love to help those in need with these types of problems, there are a few approaches homeowners can try before contacting an emergency drain cleaning service.
The Causes of Floor Drain Clogs
Before attempting to unclog a floor drain on your own, it’s worth knowing why these clogs happen in the first place. The most common issue occurs when sediment or waste accumulates in the pipes over time and creates a clog large enough to slow down the flow of the water. Other possible causes include broken or damaged pipes, water flow issues, or even pipes that were installed incorrectly in the first place. Sometimes, torrential storms can leave dirt and other sediment in the system that also can cause problems.
Whatever the cause, it’s a headache that can lead to bigger problems if left unattended.
How to Unclog a Floor Drain
While using a plumbing snake is usually the easiest way to tackle this (and again, Garvin’s Sewer Service is happy to provide this service), there are a few other things homeowners can try.
Clean the Trap
The first step in getting your floor drain to work as it was intended is to clean out the trap. To do this, locate the backflow preventer in your basement, remove its cap, then get a chisel and drive it around the notches in the retaining ring. Loosen the ring and the backflow ball, and then use a shop vac to suck out all the nasty sediment in the trap, which likely is part of what’s causing the problem.
After cleaning the trap, remove the backflow preventer’s cleanout plug and connect strong wire or cable to a power drill so you can spin it into the pipe opening. This should clear the clog and get your water flowing again.
Try Baking Soda and Vinegar
Sometimes, baking soda and vinegar can unclog a drain if the blockage isn’t especially stubborn. Start by pouring a pot of boiling hot water down the drain, followed by ½ cup baking soda. Let that sit a few minutes, then pour a mixture of one cup of vinegar and one cup of very hot water on top of the baking soda. Let it sit for five to ten minutes, then flush it one last time with another pot of boiling water.
Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners
If that doesn’t work, it might be time to call someone here at Garvin’s Sewer Service to handle the clog for you. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners because they send toxic material into the sewers, and these chemicals can even corrode older plumbing systems. If chemicals are necessary, allow professionals to be the ones who use them.
When It’s Time to Call a Professional
If you have a basement drain blockage that won’t unclog, never hesitate to call Garvin’s Sewer Service. If you can’t do it safely yourself, we will get your basement drain unclogged and functioning properly again in no time.